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[Discuss] OSS licenses (was Home NAS redux)

I'm going to download some GPL source code, and compile it into a binary.  This is just a serial sequence of bytes.  I'm going to take that sequence of bytes, and store it as a data structure inside my non-GPL binary, and distribute the non-GPL binary.  Clearly, I'm in violation of the terms of GPL, because I neither released my non-GPL source code, nor distributed the composite binary under GPL.

So build some GPL binary, and some non-GPL binary, and stick it into a zip file (better yet, self-extracting zip) or iso file or virtual appliance.

There is no escaping it.  Mixing GPL and non-GPL binaries inside a VM is a violation of the GPL.  (If you distribute the VM.)

It's really no stretch at all after that, to say, if you distribute laptops or servers that have a mixture of pre-installed GPL and non-GPL binaries, that is also a violation.  And if you distribute OS DVD bundles with mixed licenses, that's a violation...  Because guess what, before those DVD's were manufactured, somebody needed to compile them into an ISO or IMG file, which then got stamped or burned or otherwise copied onto optical media in the factory.

Dell and HP selling laptops with ubuntu pre-installed?  They have a hard disk in the factory with a "golden image" on it, which is a file, containing an image of the OS in factory condition.  The file contains an image of partition tables and boot record, and the file will be copied raw onto the factory hard drive before it leaves the factory.

Media boundaries, as well as file boundaries, are meaningless.  In fact, they are one and the same.

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